"correction" (must make up for the harm done by the unwanted
behavior), and "over-correction" (more than make up for, e.g.
if you haven't done your share of the dishes for two days, you
must make up for the dish washing you have missed plus wash
and wax the floor as well). Common penalties include giving a
lot of money to hated causes, having to publicly confess one's
Self-criticism--talking to yourself like a critical parent can be
punishing: "you can do better than that!" or "that's a dumb
thing to say, why don't you learn more about this" or "if you
had spent more time preparing, you wouldn't have been so
embarrassed" or "you should be doing this perfectly by now,
what is wrong with you any how?"
Confronting the real consequences--list the disadvantages and
dire possible consequences, especially long-term ones we tend
to overlook. This is particularly good for harmful, expensive
habits, like drinking, drugs, smoking, overeating, gambling,
reckless driving, and so on. Example: suppose you have a quick
temper and a tendency to blame and criticize others. There are
lots of disadvantages: it's hard on your body, it interferes with
being empathic and caring, it jeopardizes every relationship
(with parents, children, spouse, co-workers), and it forebodes
an unhappy life in many ways. Dwelling on these outcomes can
punish the unwanted behavior.
Don't exaggerate the awful consequences, just be honest.
Consider what could be done instead of the unwanted behavior,
e.g. how could the time, perhaps 10, 000 hours, and $10,000
to $50,000+ be spent in a more loving way than drinking? How
could the time, energy, and thought spent on hate, fruitless
arguing, and blaming in a life-time be better spent? My favorite
example is that most 18-year-olds could probably have a MD or
Ph.D. if he/she had given up TV and music.
Have horrible fantasies--using the list of disadvantages, it may
be helpful to vividly face the awful possible outcomes of the
unwanted behavior. Examples: the smoker can read about and
get a clear picture of lung cancer and heart disease made more
likely by smoking. You might even do volunteer work at a
hospital to get a better picture. The angry person can imagine
being dissatisfied with his/her spouse, having terrible fights
brought on by critical, demanding, derogatory comments,
hurting the person who has been closest to him/her, and
ending up being divorced, bitter and alone until he/she dies.
You may want help from others in administering the
punishment--just letting others know your self-control is failing
may be punishing, especially if you have a rule that you have to
show others your bitten fingernails or the roll of fat on your
stomach or how little work you have done. Friends can also
punish you at your request: they can remind you of your goals,
they can criticize, they can give away money or valued
possessions if you fail to reach a goal, they can refuse to do
things with you, etc.